joi, 17 iunie 2010

10 Controversies from Recent World Cups



10
WAGs Descend on Deutschland
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We’ll kick off this list with a sad, and pathetic, subculture that rears its ugly head whenever England play a major international tournament. At World Cup 2006, the WAGs – wives and girlfriends – of the England players had a grand old time. The England manager, Sven Goran Eriksson, had allowed the WAGs to travel to the tournament and spend time with the players in between training and matches. These WAGs are extremely wealthy as some of their partners were earning upwards of one hundred thousand pounds a week.
The WAGs turned England’s World Cup experience into an absolute circus. We were constantly bombarded by the tabloids with images of Victoria Beckham and co, dripping with jewelry and designer clothes, dragging their entourage of paparazzi all over quaint little German towns, like Baden Baden. It was distracting for the players, distasteful for the fans and detracted from the football showpiece that is the World Cup.
9
Disastrous French Defense
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This is probably only an unsavory event for the France fans out there. For the rest of us, it certainly qualifies as unexpected. Leading up to World Cup 2002, the French team were on top of the world. They were the current World Cup champions having won in France in ’98, and the current European Champions, having won at Euro 2000. In David Trezeguet and Thierry Henry they had two of the top strikers in the world, who were scoring goals for their clubs like it was going out of fashion. France had an eminently winnable group that included Uruguay, Denmark and World Cup debutants Senegal. Heavily installed as pre-tournament favorites, the only blemish on the French preparation was an injury to Zinedine ‘Zizou’ Zidane, that saw him unable to play in their first two matches.
Senegal shocked France with a 1-0 win in the first match – one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. France were then held to a goalless draw by Uruguay in game two. Zidane, the heartbeat of the French side, was rushed back from injury to play in the third match against Denmark, but was not fully fit and was ultimately unable to prevent a 0-2 loss. France were eliminated in the group stages, losing all three matches and not even scoring a single goal – thus completing the worst defense of the World Cup in history.
A memorable incident was when Trezeguet, after a number of near-misses by the French team, hit the crossbar with a shot in the third match. He put his hands on his hips, shook his head and stared at the heavens incredulously, rueing their incredibly bad luck. Later, when questioned on France’s terrible performance, Thierry Henry blamed is on the injury to Zidane, remarking “it was because we didn’t have Zizou”.
8
Jung-Hwan Hung Out to Dry
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One of the most incredible fairy-tales of the World Cup is South Korea’s unexpected charge to the semi-finals at World Cup 2002. Along the way, they claimed some high-profile scalps, the first of which was Italy in the knock-out round of 16. The match was highly controversial in terms of refereeing decisions – the Italians were probably entitled to feel somewhat hard-done-by. Whatever, this is the nature of football.
South Korean, Ahn Jung-Hwan, scored the extra-time goal that sealed the fate of the Italians. At the time, Jung-Hwan’s club team was Italian side Perugia. After scoring the golden goal to knock Italy out of the World Cup, Jung-Hwan was sacked by Perugia. The owner, Luciano Gaucci said, “That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again. He was a phenomenon only when he played against Italy. I am a nationalist and I regard such behavior not only as an affront to Italian pride but also an offense to a country which two years ago opened its doors to him. I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer.”
7
David Beckham
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At World Cup 98 England were pitted against arch-nemesis Argentina in the knock-out round of 16. Early in the second half, David Beckham was felled by Argentinian Diego Simeone in a certain yellow-card offense. However, as Beckham was lying on the floor, he kicked out at Simeone in retaliation, triggering an instant (and warranted) dismissal. England would have to play out the rest of the match with only ten men and, after a gallant effort, would eventually go out on penalties.
The unpleasantness of this incident was the treatment of Beckham in the weeks and months hence. The English press needed a scapegoat and were baying for his blood. A long period ensued where Beckham was mercilessly pilloried in the papers across the nation. He spent the remainder of the close season in the United States for fears of his personal safety. There were attacks on his home, vitriolic hate mail and even burning effigies. Football can bring joy and happiness to all corners of the globe, but it is sad that it can also generate this level of hatred and revulsion.
6
Ronaldo – What a Winker
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World Cup 2006 saw England play Portugal in the quarter finals – something of a grudge match, as Portugal had beaten England on penalties at the last European Championships in 2004. England talisman Wayne Rooney has something of a fiery temperament, and this was especially obvious in his more tender years. Being a die-hard England fan, I was getting more and more nervous as the game progressed, and Rooney became visibly more frustrated by the minute. He was starved of service from the English midfield, who just didn’t seem to be able to string passes together. He was also getting close physical attention from the Portuguese defenders, and was leading the line by himself – deployed as the only striker in a 4-5-1 formation. Rooney was starting to boil, and every England fan knew it was only a matter of time before he lost his cool, which he duly did in the 62nd minute by stamping on Portugese defender Ricardo Carvallho.
But it’s not Rooney’s foul that makes this list – which was stupid and borne of frustration, rather than dangerous and borne of malice – it is the actions of his Manchester United team-mate. Cristiano Ronaldo, playing in the Portuguese midfield, sprinted some 40 yards to remonstrate vigorously with the referee following Rooney’s foul. Surrounded by three or four shouting Portuguese players, the referee duly red-carded Rooney and sent him off. Directly after the incident, Ronaldo winked towards his bench, sending the UK media into an uproar. The wink suggested “mission accomplished” – that the Portuguese had been planning on goading the notoriously hot-tempered Rooney, with close attention and underhand off-the-ball contact in a bid to get him sent off. To do this to a close club team-mate made it particularly unpalatable on Ronaldo’s part.

5
Card Counting with Graham Poll
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At World Cup 2002, the last Group F match between Australia and Croatia was refereed by Englishman Graham Poll. He had a wealth of experience in the English Premier League, and took control of many of the high-profile matches. As testament to his ability, Poll was selected as England’s representative at two World Cup tournaments, and one European Championship.
Poll had successfully refereed two matches at World Cup 2002, and the marks that he received from the assessors indicated that he was in with a very good shout to take charge of the final, a fact he laments in his autobiography. It all went pear-shaped for Graham in the Australia-Croatia group match, when he inadvertently issued three yellow cards to the same player before sending him off.
When Poll issued a second yellow card to Croatian Josip Simunic, he inadvertently noted down the name of the Australian number three Craig Moore – failing to send Simunic off. Simunic continued to play for some time, before committing another transgression and being issued a third yellow card (which Poll thought was his second) and finally being sent off. This is probably the highest-profile, and most blatant, refereeing blunder in World Cup history, and it’s a dreadful shame that it had to happen to such an experienced, and otherwise excellent, referee in his final showing at an international tournament.
4
Ronaldo’s Mystery Affliction
 44427855 Ronaldo Injury Inter
At France ’98 Ronaldo was the world’s most recognizable footballer. Prior to the World Cup, he had signed a monumental sponsorship deal with sports giant Nike, and became the first globally mass-marketed footballer on the planet (yes, even pre-dating the meteoric rise of brand Beckham). Maybe its the cynic in me but I seemed to notice that at France ’98, every time he went down after a foul, the close-up camera shot that followed (being beamed all over the world) always had his hands strategically clutching his leg directly beneath the Nike symbol on his shin-pads. Whatever, the events before the final in Paris would go down in World Cup folklore.
On the morning of the day of the final, rumors began circulating in the press that Ronaldo was violently sick the night before and would be unable to play. As the speculation worked up to fever pitch, almost every manner of illness was reported, and even wild conspiracy theories were dreamed up, involving french secret service agents dressed as bellhops slipping something into his food (Brazil were to play France in the final).
Sure enough, when the Brazilian team released their team sheet less than two hours before the final, Ronaldo was excluded. Predictably, this sent the media into a frenzy which only relented some thirty minutes before the final, when the team sheet was changed and Ronaldo was included. Brazil would lose the final 3-0, and Ronaldo was a shadow of the player that had scored four goals in the tournament, thus far. He looked jaded, tired and his play was just…well, just not Ronaldo.
After all the furore died down, the accepted explanation is that he suffered a convulsive fit, resulting in his exclusion from the line-up. Ronaldo says that his late inclusion was at his own request. A prevalent alternative explanation (or conspiracy theory, as the case may be) is that his late inclusion was at the behest of Nike who – unable to bear the scenario of their most significant footballing investment not playing in the World Cup final – applied intense pressure to force his inclusion. Given how much money is in football, this is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility.
3
Rivaldo’s Theatrics
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At World Cup 2002 in the group match between Brazil and Turkey, Rivaldo indulged in some Oscar-worthy play-acting. In the closing stages of the match the ball went out of play and Brazil were awarded a corner. Rivaldo stepped up to take it and motioned for the ball. Instead of amicably rolling it over to him, Turkish defender Hakan Unsal spitefully booted it directly at him. The ball clearly struck Rivaldo on the thigh but in a bid to mislead the referee, he sank to the ground clutching his face, moaning and writhing in pain. Unsal was sent off with a second yellow card.
Without condoning Unsal’s childish petulance, Rivaldo’s behavior is exactly what we don’t need defacing the beautiful game. Diving, simulation, play-acting – whatever you want to call it – is just plain cheating, and is absolutely disgraceful. Rivaldo was fined by FIFA for his antics, but I personally feel that incidents such as this should be much more harshly punished. A three match suspension would make any player think twice about cheating.
2
Keane Abandons Ireland
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Talismanic Ireland captain, Roy Keane, was a footballing ‘hard man’ – an aggressive, passionately-driven midfielder with an explosive temper. He could have one hell of a row and would never back down.
Upon arrival at the Irish base camp for World Cup 2002, Keane was extremely unimpressed with the facilities and team management. Following a massive argument with manager Mick McCarthy, Keane withdrew from the squad and went home. Ireland went on, without their captain, to do exceptionally well at the World Cup. How much further could they have gone if Keane had stayed? Well, that was the speculation that was always going to hang over them, such is the respect afforded Keane as a footballer.
Keane’s actions polarised opinions in his native country, and across the globe. His supporters say that he was absolutely right to stand up for his principles, and point out a deep-seeded amateurism in the Irish Football Association. His detractors say he unforgivably turned his back on his country. Personally, I agree with Piers Morgan of ‘The Daily Mail’ who contends Keane is a “humorless, nasty, violent, foul-mouthed, selfish, disloyal thug who resides on a Citizen Kane-style pedestal of egotistical, lonely, unjustified self-adoration.”
1
Zidane’s Moment of Madness
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Zinedine Zidane was, arguably, the finest footballer of his generation, and will go down in history as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. The French team were struggling to qualify for Germany ’06 when coach Raymond Domenech urged Zidane to come out of international retirement to help the team. With their captain reinstated, France went to the World Cup and performed brilliantly. To cap off his extraordinary career with another World Cup winners medal would have been a fairy-tale ending for Zidane.
However, he would end up tainting his reputation after a moment of sheer madness in the dying minutes of extra time in the final against Italy. Zidane was sent off for a violent headbutt to the chest of Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Though the incident occurred off the ball, it was squarely captured on camera and replayed all over the world for weeks and months to come. There followed much speculation in the press as to what Materazzi must have said to prompt the assault. After months of silence from both parties, Zidane (and later, Materazzi) came out and clarified the situation.
Frustrated at being marked so closely by Materazzi, Zidane made the sarcastic remark: “If you want my shirt so badly, I’ll give it to you after the match”. Materazzi replied “I’d prefer your sister” and the rest is history.


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miercuri, 9 iunie 2010

Top 10 Facts About TopTenz



I made this to express my thankfulness about the Top 10s they provided.

Here are some facts about TopTenz, some statistics about the site and its visitors, and some background information you may find interesting. Of course, I must show this information as a top 10 list, so let’s call it Top 10 Facts About TopTenz – 2nd Anniversary Edition.
Read on to learn more about this site than you probably ever wanted to know. I’m sure the slew of competing sites will find this very informative. ;-)

10. Top 10 Most Viewed Lists

most viewed toptenz
Most Viewed is a title that can be misleading, so don’t necessarily confuse it with most popular. Some of the most viewed top 10 lists have been highly viewed because they benefit from ranking highly in the search engines. This ensures a steady stream of search traffic, thereby inflating the views. Some of the older lists are also in the most viewed by the very fact of their longevity on TopTenz. Authors are provided.
  1. Top 10 Famous Penises – TopTenz Master (Shell Harris)
  2. Top 10 Bizarre & Controversial Archeological Discoveries – Bryan Johnson
  3. Top 10 Most Beautiful Eyes – Leslie Harris
  4. Top 10 Most Mysterious Landmarks – Evan Andrews
  5. Top 10 Most Recurring Dreams and What They Mean – Tanya Bennett
  6. Top 10 Smartest Dogs – Ash Grant
  7. Top 10 Hoaxes of All Time – Evan Andrews
  8. Top Famous Final Photographs – Bryan Johnson
  9. Top 10 Famous Last Words – Bryan Johnson
  10. Top 10 Weird Colors You’ve Never Heard Of – Ash Grant

9. Making a Splash!

toptenz splash 533x400
These top 10 lists can be considered some of the most popular lists, especially when you consider their initial impact. These top 10 lists were the most popular lists based on their traffic during the first day posted. A high number of visits can be traced back to social networks and viral traffic. I might add none of these had the benefit of being popular on digg, which can contribute to extremely high traffic.
  1. Top 10 Hoaxes of All Time – 26,981 visits on first day
  2. Top 10 Weird Colors You’ve Never Heard Of – 22,571 visits on first day
  3. Top 10 Most Crippling Phobias – 27,997 visits on first day
  4. Top 10 Actors Who Passed on Movie Roles – 17,495 visits on first day

8. The Banned List

toptenz banned
I have the ultimate say of what lists are published, but sometimes I must acquiesce when our advertisers threaten to leave. When I mention that TopTenz has banned a list, the top 10 list featuring famous penises would seem the obvious choice. Yet, that list survived concerns from two advertisers and still proudly remains on the site. No, the list that is no longer on the TopTenz site is Top 10 Suicide Spots. If you wish to read this list you can do so here, Top 10 Suicide Spots.

7. People Like Us

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TopTenz has become a popular site, at least I think so. Here are some numbers supporting our growing popularity. TopTenz  had over 9,107,000 visits during our first two years and 17,440,672 page views. Not bad, considering I started this site purely for my own self satisfaction and love of top 10 lists. It all came from the most humble beginnings, when I started writing a few top lists in my spare time.

6. World Famous

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TopTenz has had visitors from 230 countries ranging from the United States to the Vatican City. Listed below are the top 10 traffic providing countries. The United States traffic dominates which is why some lists are U.S. biased.

Top 10 Countries

  1. United States, 5,318,940 1.95
  2. Canada, 711,233 2.08
  3. United Kingdom, 655,587
  4. Australia 236,243
  5. India, 176,936
  6. Philippines, 107,476
  7. Germany, 100,883
  8. Sweden, 78,222
  9. Netherlands, 69,857
  10. Mexico, 69,525

Bottom 10 Countries

  1. Guinea, 1
  2. Niue, 1
  3. Tuvalu, 2
  4. Timor-Leste, 2
  5. São Tomé and Príncipe, 2
  6. Cocos [Keeling] Islands, 2
  7. Christmas Island, 3
  8. Nauru, 4
  9. Chad, 5
  10. Vatican City, 5 (Fun Fact: They have no military force.)

5. Wikipedia

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Love it or hate it, Wikipedia has become a part of Internet culture. While it certainly isn’t 100% factual, it does contain volumes of information on just about everything under the sun. Many people consider Wikipedia a useful source for information and therefore being cited and mentioned as reference on Wikipedia can be considered an achievement. How big of an achievement is up to the individual. In any case, TopTenz has been cited and mentioned a few times. Of course, by sharing this list, the editors will probably remove all mentions. Over the years, more than a few links from Wikipedia have been removed by the Wiki editors.
  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Penguin
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_travel_in_fiction
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Guerrilla_Family
  5. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Alcides_Carri%C3%B3n
  6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listicle
  7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Goldberger
  8. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-experimentation_in_medicine
  9. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tribute_act
  10. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_films_containing_a_predestination-grandfather_paradox

4. Let Me Say This…

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While the life’s blood of this blog is obviously the top 10 lists, the second most reason to visit is the comments, and sometimes the flame wars that develop within the comments. You have no idea the number of rude, insensitive and sometimes disturbing comments I block and delete from the site. I try to keep the content PG-13. Comments may be edited for language: I try to keep the comment’s message intact, but I remove the vulgarity. Some lists have spiked a heated debate and, no surprise, religion is usually the source.  Overall, TopTenz has over 8,100 comments and blocked over 100,000 spam comments during our 2 years online. These are the top 10 most commented lists. I think you will enjoy reading a few of these. Sometimes the a single comment is longer than the post.
  1. Top 10 Arguments That Can’t Be Won (273)
  2. Top 10 Most Beautiful Eyes (233)
  3. Top 10 Greatest Guitar Players (Guitarists) (232)
  4. Top 10 Useless College Degrees & Classes (133)
  5. Top 10 Generals of Western History (122)
  6. Top 10 Tear-Jerker Movies (121)
  7. Top 10 Ways to Tick Off Your Waiter (103)
  8. Top 10 Violent Movies (102)
  9. Top 10 Time Travel Movies (90)
  10. Top 10 Cults (89)

3. TopTenz Writers

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Not an actual writer for TopTenz.net
Again, I want to thank all the wonderful writers who contributed to TopTenz. Without the creative talents of the writers there would be no TopTenz. While I have written a number of top 10 lists, it is only a fraction of the 420 lists in total. If you have been with TopTenz since our inception in May of 2008, you would have read top 10 lists from over 70 different writers. Some writers only wrote one list and then never made another submission, some contribute every few months when the inspiration hits them and a few writers contribute every month. Our most prolific writer has been Ash Grant, with 54 published top 10 lists. Here are the top 10 most published writers for TopTenz.
  1. Ash Grant, 54 top 10 lists
  2. Evan Andrews, 38 top 10 lists
  3. Anne Iredale, 20 top 10 lists
  4. William O’Dell, 18 top 10 lists
  5. Bryan Johnson, 15 top 10 lists
  6. Elizabeth Downing Johnson, 13 top 10 lists
  7. Heather Matthews, 12 top 10 lists
  8. Katherine Watt, 12 top 10 lists
  9. Loni Perry 10 top 10 lists
  10. Tanya Bennett, 10 top 10 lists
We are always looking for more talented writers. If you would like to contribute, please read our guidelines and submit your top 10 list.

2. Special Top 10 Lists

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Out of the 420 top 10 lists there are some that have significance for varying  reasons. In no order, here are some top 10 lists that are special either for personal or historical reasons.
  1. Top 10 Comic Books Villains – The first top 10 list on the site.  I was bored on Saturday afternoon and wrote this just for fun, not expecting what would come over the next 2 years. It had 3,800 visitors in its first day from StumbleUpon and I couldn’t have been more surprised or elated. That first success made me want to do more.
  2. Top 10 Suicide Spots - The only list I have ever removed from the site. This was due to pressure from an advertiser. It now resides on our sister site, Make The List.
  3. Top 10 Most Famous Penises – This list steadily brings in the most traffic from Google. Unbelievably, it ranks #1 in Google for the term “penises” and #2 for “large penises” among other penis related terms. Yet the only penis shown is yellow and belongs to a little boy, See for yourself.
  4. Top 10 Reasons Why Ex-Party Girls Make Great Mommies – This list was written by Tanya and I didn’t know how important this list would become, because it introduced me to TopTenz’s current senior editor.
  5. Top 10 Sports Games Decided by the Officials was written by Bryan Johnson – TopTenz ran a writing contest last June. It was only mildly successful, receiving less than 30 entries, but the winner was Bryan Johnson’s list about bad officiating. This list was our first contest winner, but even more importantly it introduced me to one of our best writers. Bryan has 3 lists in the top 10 most viewed lists.
  6. Top 10 Arguments that Can’t Be Won - When I asked Bill O’Dell to write this list I had no idea the reaction that would follow. I should have known better. While some of the arguments centered around comedy such as which came first the chicken or the egg, one question sparked comments and the debates: Evolution or Creation? This list even made it in another list on our site concerning Top 10 Flames wars. This list is also our most commented, for obvious reasons. Another surprisingly hotly debated list was Top 10 Ways To Tick Off Your Waiter. Who knew tipping was a hot button topic.
  7. Top 10 Most Beautiful Eyes – My wife, who has beautiful brown eyes, wanted to create a list early in the site’s history. I was getting burned out so I said she could. My wife does not like to write so I suggested she do something with images as the focus. This list is the 2nd most commented list and I am amazed at the passion of some of the comments. In some cases, the comments become even more interesting than the list, this is one such list.
  8. Top 10 Board Games We Love to Hate – My favorite list that I wrote. Rarely do I laugh at things I write as I am often too close to the joke, but this one made me chuckle as I wrote it. And I still snicker when I read it a year later.
  9. Top 10 Violent Movies – This is the only list I have seriously considered removing. One of my favorite contributing writers and a published author, Heather Matthews, wrote this list with the best intentions.  It should have probably been titled Most Violent Mainstream Movies. This is also one of only three lists I have turned off comments. I stopped allowing comments at #101 and  I wrote comment 102 explaining why I was closing comments. Heather’s choices were attacked “violently” by many commentors and she responded to them all. At some point this horse was beaten to death. Most ironically, it ranks #1 in Google for the search term “Violent Movies.” I guess Google agrees with the list.
  10. My Favorite List – I wanted to point out one favorite top 10 list, but I couldn’t make up my mind since I liked so many of them, but for different reasons. So, I’m going to cheat and list a few and why I like them.

1. Traffic Updates

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Toptenz derives much of its traffic from social networks. The largest referring social site is StumbleUpon which has sent 2,216,534 visitors thus far. For some unknown reason Digg and Digg users haven’t been impressed with TopTenz. No top 10 list has been on the front page or been made popular on Digg. Surprising? Yes, to me as well. Maybe one day, but for now Digg has only sent 16,000 visitors to the site in 2 years.
Toptenz started a twitter account on January 10, 2009. TopTenz now has 2,633 followers during this time. If you wish to become follower, sign up at our Twitter account – @TopTenz.
Another new development this year was the TopTenz Facebook Fan Page with 1,199 fans since December 2009.
TopTenz has received traffic from 13,905 different sites. Some of note include, Reddit.com, alot.com, i-am-bored.com, gorillamask.net, uniquedaily.com, alltop.com, mentalfloss.com, fark.com, neatorama.com and huffingtonpost.com.

(Toptenz.net)

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Top 10 Insurance Companies



1. American International Group (AIG)
Country: United States
Market Value: $172.24
billion

American International Group, Inc. (AIG), a world leader in insurance and financial services, is the leading international insurance organization with operations in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions. AIG companies serve commercial, institutional and individual customers through the most extensive worldwide property-casualty and life insurance networks of any insurer. In addition, AIG companies are leading providers of retirement services, financial services and asset management around the world. AIG's common stock is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, as well as the stock exchanges in Paris and Tokyo.

2. AXA Group
Country: France
Market Value: $66.12 billion


In 1980, AXA did not exist. Over the next 20 years, the Group would grow to become a major international player.AXA pursues successfully its external growth strategy: consolidation of AXA existing activities, with the acquisition of Oyak's 50% stake in AXA Oyak, 2nd Turkish insurer, for 525 million dollars, and penetration of high growth potential markets, with the acquisition of 100% of the 3rd Mexican insurer, ING Seguros (for an amount of 1.5 billion dollars). Today AXA is present in geographically diverse markets, with operations concentrated in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.

3. Allianz Worldwide
Country: Germany
Market Value: $65.55
billion

The Allianz Group is one of the leading integrated financial services providers worldwide. With nearly 155,000 employees worldwide, the Allianz Group serves approximately 75 million customers in about 70 countries. On the insurance side, Allianz is the market leader in the German market and has a strong international presence.

4. Manulife Financial
Country: Canada
Market Value: $50.52 billion

Manulife Financial is a leading Canadian-based financial services group serving millions of customers in 22 countries and territories world-wide. We provide financial protection and wealth management products and services, to individual and group customers in Canada, the United States and Asia. These products and services include individual life insurance, group life and health insurance, long-term care services, pension products, annuities, mutual funds and banking products. We offer reinsurance services, specializing in life retrocession and property and casualty reinsurance and provide investment management services with respect to the Company’s general fund and segregated fund assets and to mutual funds and institutional customers.

5. Generali Group
Country: Italy
Market Value: $45.45 billion


The Generali Group is one of the most significant participants in the global insurance and financial products market. The Group is leader in Italy and Assicurazioni Generali, founded in 1831 in Trieste, is the Group's Parent and principal operating Company.

In recent years, the Group has made a significant return to central-eastern European markets and has set up offices in the principal markets of the Far East, among which China and India.

6. Prudential Financial
Country: United States
Market Value: $39.70
billion

Prudential Financial, Inc (NYSE:PRU), a financial services leader with approximately $580 billion of Assets Under Management as of June 30, 2009, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe and Latin America. Leveraging its heritage of life insurance and asset management expertise, Prudential is focused on helping approximately 50 million individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth.

7. MetLife
Country: United States
Market Value: $37.94 billion

MetLife, Inc. is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Outside the U.S., MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.

8. Aviva
Country: United Kingdom
Market value: $33.10
billion

Aviva is one of the leading providers of life and pension products in Europe and are actively growing our long-term savings businesses in Asia Pacific and the USA. Their main activities are long-term savings, fund management and general insurance

9. Munich Re Group
Country: Germany
Market Value: $30.99 billion


The Munich Re Group is one of the world’s leading risk carriers. It's business covers the whole value chain in insurance and reinsurance.

10. AEGON
Counry: Netherlands
Market Value: $26.40 billion


AEGON is an international business, providing life insurance, pensions and other long-term savings and investment products to millions of customers around the world. The company has major operations in the United States, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom as well as other businesses in Asia, the Americas and elsewhere in Europe. AEGON is listed on the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, London, New York and Tokyo.


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duminică, 6 iunie 2010

Top 10 Money Making Ideas



Number 10 idea for making real money from home: artist for hire *
Put together a portfolio and offer your services to the public. You can illustrate for book writers or greeting card companies. You can paint murals on walls. You can create logos or other art for businesses. You can sell completed art at art and craft fairs. Let your talent dictate your income.

Number 9 idea for making real money from home: Freelance writing *
Offer your services as a freelance writer to anyone who needs it. You can find clients on the INTERNET (do not pay anyone to help you find leads). If you know anyone starting a business, you can offer services to him or her. To get started, you just have to let people know that you are a good writer and your services are available. Many websites like Craigslist has regular ads seeking writers.

Number 8 idea for making real money from home: Private Coach
For a parent who wants their child to excel in a sport or other competition, you can use your unique talents to become their private coach. Some of the disciplines where you can be a private coach are children’s pageants, sports from baseball to gymnastics, chess, spelling bees or any other areas that involve competition.

Number 7 idea for making real money from home: Child tutoring
Everyone is good at some subject. Choose your favorite and offer private tutoring. Teach math, language, history, art, or any other subject where a child or adult may need help.

Number 6 idea for making real money from home: Music Lessons
If you can play any music instrument well, offer to teach local children in your home. People are willing to pay more, if you can travel to their home. If you can do a different neighborhood a day, you will maximize your income potential.

Number 4 idea for making real money from home: Mobile Laundry service
Are you good at washing and ironing? This work from home job is especially good for moms with kids. Set your delivery and pick up time for when you are child free. Then wash, fold, and iron clothes for people willing to pay. All you need is a washing machine and dryer. If you can install a second set somewhere in your home, you can do more volume and make more money. Just remember to consider your water and electricity bill when you are setting your rates.

Number 3 idea for making real money from home: Become a person or gal Friday
There are many busy business executives you your community. They manage multi million dollar corporations, but do not have the time to manage their own lives. Have them send you their to-do list, which may include standing in lines, shopping, buying gifts, and taking care of their personal calendar. You can make a brochure detailing the items you are willing to do. Working for one or two people will surely make a decent income. If you give each person one day a week, you could work four days, charge $100-$150 a day, and make a large profit

Number 2 idea for making real money from home: Start a grocery delivery service
Use internet bulletin boards to advertise that you are willing to shop for people who cannot get out for a 10 or 15 percent surcharge. This is less than people tip waiters and servers, but if you shop for two or three people at one time; you can make $25-$20.00 and hour, and get your own groceries at the same time.

...And the Number 1 idea for making real money from home: Write for Associated Content *
It is a good part time income. If you are eloquent to write 10 articles a day, you could even pull a full time income. The average top writer produces approximately five articles per day.



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vineri, 4 iunie 2010

Top 10 Mysteries of Outer Space




10
Simulacrum in Eagle Nebula
Hubble J
One of the strangest photos that has ever been taken of space is that of the Eagle Nebula. The photo itself is supposed to show the birth of a star from the gaseous clouds. However, when the photo was shown on CNN, hundreds of calls came in from people reporting they could see a face in the cloud. When the color of the photo was adjusted, a large human form seemed to appear within the cloud. Scientist have not been able to explain this phenomena (though listverse very possible has on this list – see item 1). You can read more about it here.
9
Where did galaxies come from?
Galaxy-1
Science has only recently been able to explain where the stars and planets came from. Now, scientists have turned their attention to a much bigger mystery, where did galaxies come from? What is known is that galaxies are not scattered randomly throughout space, rather they are found in clusters, known as “super clusters”. Scientists have two main theories to attempt to explain galaxy formation. First, the gas left over from the big bang clustered together to form galaxies, in which stars and planets were born. Second is that gas from the big bang created stars and planets all over the universe, and they migrated through gravity into galaxies. Neither theory has been universally accepted yet.
8
Other Earths
090421-Most-Earthlike-Planet Big
Our star, the sun, is just one of trillions in the universe. When you look at the fact that our star has eight planets, and do the math, it tells you that it is possible for there to be eight times as many planets in the universe than stars; an astounding figure. Is it not possible that just one of those planets might have life on it? It is a fact that, since the year 2000, hundreds of extra solar planets have been discovered orbiting distant stars. Some of these have found to be earth- like, such as the planet Gliese 581d, a planet believed to have liquid water on its surface. Could it possibly contain life? Hopefully with advances in technology in the next decade, we will soon know the answer. Till then, it remains one of space’s greatest mysteries.
7
Are there Other Universes?
Space Fiction Close Comet 1 - 1024X768
This is one of the more controversial arguments out there. The theory is that there are an infinite number of universes, each which is governed by its own set of laws and physics. Many scientists dismiss this argument as nothing more than speculation, as there is no evidence or mathematical law that allows for the existence of other universes. However, believers in this theory have argued that there are none that disprove it either. This is one mystery which can only be solved if we were able to travel there, however, with the expansion of the universe, it is unlikely humanity will ever find the answer.
6
Dark Matter
Darkmattermap
Albert Einstein’s equation E = MC^2 is perhaps the best known equation of the century. However when applied to space, an anomaly occurs. When we use it to determine how much matter the universe should have, we realize that we have only found four percent of the matter in the universe! Where is the rest of it? Many believe it is in the form of dark matter. Where is this dark matter? It’s everywhere,  wherever there is no visible matter. Scientists have yet to show any conclusive proof that dark matter does in fact exist. The fact that you can’t see it, touch it, and light and radio waves pass right through it undeterred makes it extremely hard to detect.
5
Mars/Earth Connection
Face-On-Mars-1976
When talking about life on other planets, some say we need go no further than our own solar system. Mars has always been thought to harbor life by many conspiracy theorists, saying that NASA is covering it up. Many photos have also called into question civilization on Mars, such as the face on Mars, Pyramids on Mars, and photo of what appears to be an ape like figure sitting on a rock on Mars. While scientists have come out to debunk these photos, they have also admitted that they believe liquid oceans once covered the surface of Mars before its magnetic field disappeared. Is it possible that life did indeed once exist? The current missions to Mars hopes to answer this question.
4
UFO sightings by NASA Astronauts
Ufo
NASA Astronauts are some of the most highly trained and specialized people in the world. Often they are expert scientists that can explain almost anything. So when they see something they can’t explain, you can bet it is going to raise eyebrows. One of the most famous incidents occurred on a live broadcast on NBC in 1963. Major Gordon Cooper was at the end of his 22 orbit solo journey around the earth when he said that out of one of his windows he could see a glowing green object fast approaching. The object then made a sharp turn and shot away. He was sure he was not seeing things, as the radar in his spacecraft picked up the object as well. Upon his return to earth interviewers wanted to ask him about the object, however NASA officials would not allow it. You can read about this and other Astronaut sightings at this web site.
3
“White” Holes
251
One of Albert Einstein’s greatest accomplishments was the proving, though mathematics, the existence of black holes. From the advances in technology, we now have been able to find several black holes, and believe one to be at the center of our very own Milky Way galaxy. What is astonishing, however, is what Einstein also proved through his equations;  white holes also exist. The exact opposite of black holes, white holes are believed to “spit out” an incredible amount of matter from seemingly nothing. Such an object should  be easy to find, yet none have been. If one was found, it may help us explain other unknown mysteries, such as where the material that made the galaxies came from.
2
Ruins on Moon
Moon-Ruins1
In this list we have discussed the possibility of life on distant planets, and in near planets. But could it possibly at one time have been as close as the moon? This conspiracy theory states that there are indeed ancient ruins and buildings on the moon, but the government has been censoring them from the public. This theory had no backing until two recent breakthroughs. A man who claims to have worked for the government censoring moon photos came forward with several, explaining how the censorship was done and that indeed there were structures on the moon. More recently, scientist announced they believe they have discovered water, possibly in ice or liquid form, under the surface of the moon. For conspiracy theorists, this was all the proof they needed, while critics dismiss it as “ridiculous speculation”. You can read more about this, and watch a fascinating video, here.
1
Dark Energy
Darkmatterpie
Dark energy is the greatest mystery in the universe today, because of the fact that it is believed to be all around us, and it explains why there seems to be anomalies within the law of gravity. By the law of gravity, large objects, like galaxy clusters, should attract each other, and their gravitational pull should pull in other objects. This however, is not the case, and the fact is most galaxy clusters are moving farther apart. This is due to the fact that the universe is expanding at an incredible rate. To answer the question of why this is, scientists developed the theory of Dark Energy, which has the opposite effect as gravity, pushing things apart. Mathematical calculations have shown that if it exists, it makes up 74% of our universe, outweighing gravity, and this is why the universe is stretching out. However we still have no conclusive proof, so it remains a mystery to us.

(source:Listverse)


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